William H Macy to star in 'Shameless' remake

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The Independent Online

They are a down and out family who speak in broad regional vernacular and live in the fictional Manchester sink estate of Chatsworth.

Now the wild and wonderful antics of the Gallagher brood, from Paul Abbott's Bafta award-winning television series Shameless, have captured the imaginations of American television executives, who plan to adapt the series for their audiences with an all-American cast.

The series will be led by William H Macy, better known as the hapless leading man Jerry Lundegaard in the Coen Brothers' Fargo, who will play a Chicago-based version of David Threlfall's perpetually sozzled patriarch, Frank Gallagher. Emmy Rossum has been signed to play his 18-year-old daughter, while Allison Janney will also star in the show, which dramatises the often outrageous adventures of five younger brothers and sisters.

Following on from a pilot, shown on the cable service Showtime, which was co-written by Abbott, the network has now ordered 12 episodes of the show. Abbott will executive produce and remain "creatively involved" in the project, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Robert Greenblatt, Showtime's entertainment president said the pilot was "phenomenally good".

Shameless's stateside success follows a recent trend in the Americanisation of popular British programmes, led by Ricky Gervais's The Office.

The American series will, like its British original, revolve around the Gallagher family, except it has been adapted to feature a working-class Chicago family dealing with the recession. Much of the first series was based on Abbott's own experiences of growing up in Burnley.

The British version, now in its seventh season, has been aired on BBC America and the Sundance Channel.

Abbott's original programme has been sold in a number of overseas countries as well as America, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Nederlands, Finland, Portugal and Ireland.